Last night I had the extreme good fortune to attend the Installation of Barry Zwahlen as President of the Contra Costa Association of Realtors® (CCAR).
I say it was “extreme good fortune” for multiple reasons, which are too numerous to mention. But, perhaps the foremost reason is that since my wife, Diane Gilfether was the MC, I was able to sit at the “head table” with Barry and Brenda Zwahlen and other dignitaries, one of whom was Jeff Davi, the California Commissioner of Real Estate.
During dinner I was able to have a very interesting conversation with Commissioner Davi about several aspects of the real estate business (Jeff is a third generation Realtor®). One of our topics was how Realtors® are finding new buyers for their listings these days. We talked at length about the mainstay methods of the past that were no longer producing results. One of those methods was newspaper and magazine advertising.
We all “know” that those print ads just don’t produce the results that they used to, yet we still persist in running them. A quick check of today’s (Sunday, January 10, 2010) Contra Costa Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, showed me that yes, Brokers and Agents were still wasting money on that medium.
Why do we do that? I think the quick answer is that the seller’s tell us they want them. Why do the seller’s demand that we advertise their homes in print? It would seem that the seller’s are more interested in us producing buyers that are qualified to purchase their home than they are in how we actually do it. In my opinion, the sellers want newspaper advertising because they don’t know that buyers find the homes that they purchase through other means. The reason that they don’t know is because we don’t tell them. And I believe that we don’t tell them because we don’t know how to do that convincingly.
As I explained to Commissioner Davi last night, the National Association of Realtors® has released the 2009 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers and made it available as a free download for members! You can purchase a print version for $25.00 and non members can purchase it for $125.00.
But why buy it when you can download it? Probably because NAR has done a masterful job of hiding the download link! Go and download it right now, then come back and I will point out a few things that should make your life easier when it comes to convincing those sellers that print advertising is utterly dead.
Go here to find the report: http://www.realtor.org/prodser.nsf/products/E186-45-09?OpenDocument be sure to log in when asked and you’ll come to a page that looks like the one in the illustration to the left.
Even though it is a free download, NAR makes you go through the process of putting it in a shopping cart and “Checking Out”. You’ll have to fill in everything except a credit card. When you are all done, you’ll be directed to to go to “My eProducts” page to do the actual download. Note to NAR: Could you possibly have made this entire process ANY harder or more obtuse? Good grief!
The chapters that are of most interest to me are Chapter 3 and Chapter 4, although the entire report is a gold mine of information. Pay particular attention to page 48 and Exhibit 3-6 where they rank the usefulness of information sources used by buyers to find the homes. Home books and magazines ranked at 3% and newspapers ranked at 1%. In other words, not at all useful!
On page 50, Exhibit 3-10, we see information ranking where the buyer found the home that they purchased from 2001 through 2009. The high point for newspapers at 7% was in 2001. That fell to a low of 2% in 2009. Home books and magazines fared worse, ranging from a high in 2001 of 2% to less than 1% in 2009. In other words they were only used by 2% or less of buyers.
Perhaps the most telling chart is on page 53, Exhibit 3-16. This chart breaks down buyers into those that used the Internet and those that didn’t. I’ll let you go see just how miserably the print ads fared among both Internet and non-Internet users…
So, here’s the bottom line, if you aren’t using these charts in your listing presentations, then you are going to end up spending money that you do not need to spend. And that is because you will not have educated your sellers on where the buyer for their home is looking.
And that is a shame…
About the Author: Jerry is a 23 year veteran of the real estate industry and has done it all from listing and selling, to managing single and multiple offices. He has been the IT Director for a major SF Bay Area company, and has also been the Training Director for another major SF Bay Area company. In addition to writing this blog, Jerry is the Principal of Jerry Kidd Training and Consulting, specializing in showing real estate professionals how to utilize today’s exciting social tools to create and nurture relationships with home buyers and sellers. Visit http://www.JerryKidd.com to learn more about the training and consulting services offered.